Dear College Bound Student,
You are about to embark upon an important journey. You are going to pursue a higher education. To succeed in attaining a higher education, you must first understand what is education. Everyone from ancient Greek philosophers to modern day English professors have evaluated the definition and goal of education. You must gather the knowledge of these humanitarians to understand the definition education, thereby directing you down the right path towards an enlightening college experience.
The ancient Greek philosopher Plato describes education in his “Allegory of the Cave” as a process of spiritual enlightenment. According to Plato:
If (one) is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged
ascent, and held fast until (he/she) is forced into the
presence of the sun (himself/herself), is he not likely to
be pained and irritated. When he approaches the light
his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see
anything at all of what are now called realities…He will
require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world.
In this quote, Plato implies that one cannot be forced to acquire an education, but one must choose to seek an education. The prisoner cannot be forced to see the upper world, but he/she must have the drive to try to gain an understanding of the world in order for them to see the “light.” Similarly, in college you must not depend on a teacher to be interesting or a course to be easy for you to learn. You must take the initiative to understand your material and think on your own in order for you to gain knowledge. I am in a chemistry course consisting of over 200 students. A class of this magnitude is often very intimidating to me, and I may be tempted to rely on my existing knowledge of the subject to get me through the course. This attitude towards college will inevitably lead you to failure. To succeed in my chemistry class I attend all lectures, do the homework, and read the book in order to understand the material and make the best of my education.
Mark Edmundson described a student, Joon Lee, that possessed this initiative to acquire knowledge in his essay, “On the Uses of a Liberal Education: As Lite Entertainment for Bored College Students.” Edmundson states,
The divide that separates (Joon) and a few other
remarkable students from their contemporaries is not
that some aren’t nearly as bright – in terms of
intellectual ability, it’s that Joon Lee has decided to
follow his interests and let them make him into a singular
and rather eccentric man. (129).
Joon was different from other students who had the potential of enlightenment because he put forth the effort to understand the information he was given in his courses. When a student puts his need for entertainment and satisfaction aside, and takes the initiative to gain knowledge, he/she allows the material to form himself/herself into an...